Creating Happy With Food

I believe that my love for cooking, simply put, came from my love for eating. I love food from all spectrums of the graph. I can get dirty with drive-thru grease and raise a pinky to dishes that look more like amuse-bouche than a full meal.

Cooking has always been a way to connect with family. I can remember standing side-by-side with my grandma while she cooked. These memories are some of the fondest memories I have from my childhood. My mom cooked some pretty infamous family dishes too. When my mom died, I was devasted, as any child would be losing a parent, and I couldn’t bring myself to make any of her signature dishes, it was too painful. I have still only made her split pea soup only once in over 20 years. (mom died when I was 28, in case you were wondering how old I am, but then again, who really enjoys math?) *I love split pea soup

Cooking is a way of life, a chance to share your heritage with your family, a time to inspire and build lifetime memories. 3 out of 4 of my kiddos ended up working in a kitchen, one was classically trained in Avignon, France another met her husband while being a traveling corporate (kitchen) trainer for a large burger chain. Food brings us together and binds us to the past.

I am slightly taken back by the seemingly dying art of cooking. I feel like cooking has become a thing of yesterday. I have noticed that many people don’t seem to know how to cook, and that is sad. With that said, I don’t bake and some would probably say that too is sad. I do bake bread from time to time, but I really really really like bread and that is a huge motivator. Cooking can be intimidating, with all of the great eateries and new-fangled ways of cooking these days, I get it, but cooking, feeding others, wow! I love to see the look on the faces of friends and family when they bite into my latest creation at the dinner table.

My kiddos are off on their own these days and live across the country, but when they come home or I visit, there are a few favorites of mine that have created memories throughout the years. Typically I will be asked to make my fried chicken, gravy and biscuits, homemade chicken noodle soup (with homemade noodles) or dumplings. There are other dishes too, but these are the favorites, like my mom’s split pea soup and fried chicken and grandma’s Minestrone soup.

This week I made a grain-free cheddar biscuit that fell flat on overall taste, made an Asian chicken bowl with cauliflower fried rice that tickled the palate, but could have been better, I made a kick-ass tossed chicken salad, scrambled some eggs with cheddar cheese and bacon that missed the mark completely, a ham and cheese pocket (yum) and other random things. I say this because not every dish I make turns out great and I have had a not so great week at the range. I still love to cook, I will continue to try and fail and try with great success.

I like to take low carb tortilla’s and make this little ham and cheese pocket. It is something quick and Keto friendly or low-carb friendly or just good tasting friendly. Here’s a trick, a play on food games. If you are going to make a ham and cheese pocket, try adding a few pepperonis and sliced dill pickles… you will, in essence, create a ‘Cuban-ish’ sandwich. *serve with yellow mustard.

At the end of the day, just get in the kitchen and have fun. I can’t stand hearing that cooking frustrates or ‘scares’ you. The best way to find out what you like, what you don’t, what goes together and what doesn’t is to start cooking. When the kiddos were little and money was too, I would open up the refrigerator and just start creating things out of nothing before you know it, it will become easy and you will understand how all of it comes together.